A different kind of "Lin-sanity" is happening in Manila! Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator, original leading man, and Tony and Grammy Award-winning composer of the critically-acclaimed Broadway musical In the Heights, visited the Philippines for the first time, and led, March 16, Friday night's opening night curtain call for Atlantis Productions' restaging of In the Heights - the show's first ever licensed production in Asia, which features an all-Filipino cast - at Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City.
Miranda, who recently starred in the Encores! production of Stephen Sondheim's musical Merrily We Roll Along at New York City Center, and who is currently working on the Caldwell Theatre Company's revamped production of Stephen Schwartz's musical Working, grew up in Upper Manhattan's mostly-Hispanic neighborhood of Washington Heights.
Miranda first worked on In the Heights, a musical that presents a portrait of the Hispanic community in Washington Heights, when he was a sophomore student at Wesleyan University in Connecticut in 2000. His Filipina classmate, Aileen Payumo, played the role of Nina Rosario, a Standford University dropout, in the show's first production. (Coincidentally, Filipino-American Broadway actress Arielle Jacobs played the role of Nina when the show closed on Broadway in January last year.)
After four years of development, In the Heights premiered on Off-Broadway's 37 Arts Theatre in 2007. The production transferred to Broadway's Richard Rogers Theatre in 2008. It was nominated for 13 Tony Awards, and won four: Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography for Andy Blankenbuehler, and Best Orchestrations for Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman. Its original Broadway cast recording also won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album in 2008.
In the Philippines, Atlantis Productions' first staging of In the Heights, in September last year, won the Aliw Award for Best Ensemble Cast. Directed by Bobby Garcia, In the Heights' repeat performances bring back the original, star-studded cast, including Nyoy Volante, Jackie Lou Blanco, Ima Castro, Calvin Millado, Tex Ordonez, K-La Rivera, Felix Rivera, Bibo Reyes, Jimmy Marquez, and Jay Glorioso - who also won an Aliw Award for her performance as Abuela Claudia.
Atlantis Productions' In the Heights features choreography by Cecile Martinez, musical direction by Ceejay Javier, set design by Mio Infante, lighting design by Jay Aranda, costume design by Twinkle Zamora, and vocal direction by ManMan Angsico. The audience can expect hip-hop, salsa, soul, and merengue (music and dance from the Dominican Republic) musical numbers from its Tony Award-winning score.
In the Heights runs until March 25. For tickets, call Atlantis Productions at (632) 892-7078 or (632) 840-1187.